Ecology of

Ocean Sunfish and Sharks

Itsumi Nakamura

    I’m a postdoc investigating the ecology of large marine fishes (ocean sunfish and sharks). The objective of ocean sunfish project in Japan is to reveal foraging habit of ocean sunfish (Mola mola). The ocean sunfish is often ‘basking’ at the surface, but sometimes dives to over hundred meters. I want to reveal the reason of ‘basking’ and what they do during dives. Shark project is associated with Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and target species are tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier), Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis), sandbar sharks (Carchathinus plumbeus), and a couple of deep-sea sharks.

Publications and Presentations

Refereed publications

Nakamura I., Meyer C. and Sato K. Unexpected positive buoyancy in deep sea sharks, Hexanchus griseus, and a Echinorhinus cookei. PLoS One e0127667 (2015)

Nakamura I., Goto Y. and Sato K. Ocean sunfish rewarm at the surface after deep excursions to forage for siphonophores. Journal of Animal Ecology 84:590-603 (2015)

Nakamura I and Sato K. (2014) Ontogenetic shift in foraging habit of ocean sunfish Mola mola from dietary and behavioral studies. Marine Biology 161: 1263-1273.

Nakamura I., Watanabe Y.Y., Papastamatiou Y.P., Sato K., and Meyer C.G. (2011) Yo-yo vertical movements suggest a foraging strategy for tiger sharks Galeocerdo cuvier. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 424, 237-246.


Best Oral Presentation Award

Nakamura I. and Sato K. (2011) Ontogenetic changes in foraging ecology of ocean sunfish Mola mola from dietary and behavioral studies. 1st International Conference of Fish Telemetry, Sapporo.

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